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Understanding Texts & Readers

Responsive Comprehension Instruction with Leveled Texts

Understanding Texts & Readers helps you take the next step from Jen's Reading Strategies Book. She connects her comprehension goals to text levels and readers' responses. As you learn more about how comprehension works over a range of texts, you'll find text complexity simpler, clarify comprehension, and make great book matches, as you choose just-right strategies to share with readers. Learn more: How Understanding Texts & Readers Can Help (PDF)

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“Goals help guide my thinking about reader’s skills within each level of text complexity, and a leveling system helps my understanding of readers’ development from level to level.”

—Jennifer Serravallo

 Understanding Texts & Readers makes comprehension make sense. In it, Jennifer Serravallo narrows the distance between assessment and instruction. She maps the four fiction and four nonfiction comprehension goals she presented in The Reading Strategies Book to fourteen text levels and shares sample responses that show what to expect from readers at each.

Jen simplifies text complexity and clarifies comprehension instruction. She begins by untangling the many threads of comprehension: Levels, engagement, stamina, the relevance of texts, and much more. Then level by level she:

  • calls out with precision how plot and setting, character, vocabulary and figurative language, and themes and ideas change as fiction across levels
  • specifies how the complexity of main idea, key details, vocabulary, and text features increases in nonfiction texts
  • points out what to expect from a reader as text characteristics change
  • provides samples of student responses to texts at each level
  • shares progressions across levels to support instructional planning.

Even if you haven’t read the book your reader is responding to, you’ll have the background necessary to make great teaching decisions for all your readers. “Understanding subtle shifts and increases in demands from level to level,” writes Jennifer Serravallo, “can guide what a teacher asks a student, what the teacher expects of the student, and what the teacher, therefore, teaches the student.”

Want to become a master of matching kids to books? Looking to take the difficult out of differentiation? Or do you want to dramatically increase the power and responsiveness of Jen’s Reading Strategies Book? Understanding Texts & Readers shows you how to move forward when students need to make progress.

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